Expert: King Abdullah 'Not Serious' About Reforms

While Jordan’s King Abdullah promised democratic reforms, Dr. Assaf David of Hebrew U believes his intentions are neither serious nor genuine.

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Elad Benari, | updated: 05:12

King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan
Israel news photo: Agencia Brasil

While Jordan’s King Abdullah promised on Sunday that he will be implementing democratic reforms in his country, Dr. Assaf David of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem believes his intentions are neither serious nor genuine.

“If he had said these things three months ago they would have sounded more credible,” Dr. David told Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website on Monday. He backed this statement by bringing as proof a proposal King Abdullah recently received to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Such a move, explained Dr. David, will lead Jordan to quickly solve its economic problems, would allow the King to steer away from dependence on the United States, and would also allow him to avoid implementing significant reforms in his country.

“The Gulf States’ proposal allows will allow him to have a lot of money available quickly,” said Dr. David. “It allows Abdullah to reject demands for reform which are coming from within.”

On Sunday, King Abdullah promised Jordanians in a televised address Sunday that a “future” government will be elected instead of appointed by the king. The king appoints his cabinet ministers and can dissolve parliament, which is elected by the people. 

He stated his “opposition to chaos that leads to destruction” and warned against the “dictates of the street.”

The King likely made his promises out of a concern that the Muslim Arab Spring would spread to his kingdom.

His promises represent the first time he has outlined concessions to Jordanians, many of whom have demanded that he surrender much of his power. There have been few calls, for the time being, for the demise of the Hashemite monarchy, which is widely respected in the country.

Even the radical Muslim Brotherhood has said that King Abdullah is a “stabilizing influence” but has called for reforms that would “avoid the tragedies taking place in the region.”

Dr. David estimated that it is unlikely that protests similar to the ones in Syria would be seen in Jordan. He added that he believes Abdullah would not resort to having helicopters open fire at demonstrators, as has been the case in Syria, since the King still has the power to calm the masses.